Vitamin D Impacts More Than You Think

When Cole Porter penned “It’s delightful, it’s delicious, it’s de-lovely, he had no idea how destructive it might be to find yourself deficient. But researchers have discovered that in the lab, a least, a high-fat diet plus insufficient vitamin D increases your risk for development of metabolic syndrome (a combination of obesity, insulin resistance, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease). Healthy levels of the sunshine vitamin help combat it!

This matters, say the researchers, because “due to air pollution, insufficient sunlight exposure, and altered dietary composition,” low levels of vitamin D affect 30 to 60 percent of folks worldwide, and “is increasingly found in association with many diseases, including autoimmune diseases, hepatitis, and cancer.” The most at risk? Breastfed babies, the elderly, indoor-dwellers, people with darker skin in low-light locations (north of Atlanta in the wintertime), and anyone who has trouble absorbing fat because of inflammatory bowel disease or gastric bypass surgery, for example.

D’s powers seem to lie in its ability to tamp down inflammation and its positive influence over gut bacteria. What can you do to make sure you’re making smart decisions?

  • Aim for 30 minutes of sun exposure twice a week; after that it’s mineral-based, 30-SPF, sunscreen all the time!
  • Get dietary D from non-fat dairy, salmon and tuna.
  • Get a blood test to check your level. If you’re low, consider taking at least 600 IU D2 or D3 (800 IU if you're 71 or older), but no more than 4,000 IU, daily. It’s D-lovely for sure!